Spirit Airlines baggage fees: Everything to know

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Spirit Airlines prides itself on its extremely low ticket prices. To keep those costs down, the airline charges for services typically included in the fees of most major carriers, like carry-ons. Spirit Airlines baggage fees vary based on several factors, including departure and arrival destinations, the size and weight of your bag and how many bags (in addition to your one personal item) you have in total.

Spirit Airlines carry-on allowance 

Here’s the good news: All Spirit Airlines tickets come with an allowance of one personal item. This item (like a purse, backpack, etc.) is included in the price of your ticket. Personal items can not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches, including handles and wheels.   

To keep costs down, the airline charges for carry-ons and checked bags. Since a heavier plane means more fuel, if you’re carrying a bag that’s more than 40 pounds, it’ll cost you. An additional personal item or anything larger, like a standard carry-on or checked bag, will cost you, too.

Carry-on bags can be slightly larger than personal items. The maximum size is 22 x 18 x 10 inches, including handles and wheels. Note that Spirit does not accept any bags over 100 pounds or 80 inches long, and if you bring a carry-on that the Spirit staff deems unsafe for stowing, they may make you check it.

The exception to the rule is in the case of the active-duty military. Spirit offers two free checked bags and a free carry-on, in addition to the already free personal item for these passengers.

Spirit Airlines checked baggage allowance and fees

Checked bags for Spirit Airlines flights can be no more than 62 linear inches in total, including their handles and wheels, and no more than 40 pounds. Larger or heavier bags will be charged the oversized/overweight additional fees, which vary.

As for checked baggage fees, Spirit offers a bag rate calculator that displays rates for your individual trip on its website. 

For a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Cleveland, Ohio, for example, you’ll pay $31 for your carry-on, $23 for your first checked bag, $36 for the second, and so on. This is in addition to your included personal item, which is free. 

As noted above, these rates vary depending on a variety of factors. So you’ll want to use the bag rate calculator to get exact numbers.

These rates increase the closer you are to departure. Spirit sets up baggage fees so that there are fewer surprises on travel day. You’ll save money by noting that you’ll pay for additional baggage when you first buy your ticket online. The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay. 

Additional/excess baggage fees

The heavier the bag, the pricer it is, too. Additional fees for overweight or oversized bags are:

  • 41 – 50 pounds, $30
  • 51 – 70 pounds, $55
  • 71 – 100 pounds, $100
  • 63 – 80 inches, $100
  • Special items over 80 inches, $150

For sporting goods, Spirit charges $75 each way for a bicycle and $100 for a surfboard (maximum 2 per bag). Golf clubs and skis or snowboards cost the same as the checked bag rates.

Depending on what you plan or need to bring with you, you could save with a budget carrier competitor, like Southwest Airlines, which allows for two bags per flight — one personal and one carry-on — and charges $75 per oversized bag. 

Ways to pay Spirit baggage fees

There are a few ways to pay Spirit baggage fees. The first and cheapest is to know before you go and pay when you initially buy your tickets online. If you know you plan to bring more with you than the allotted personal item, go ahead and pay online when you purchase. 

You can also pay before or during your check-in. Both of these options cost more than if you pay the fees at booking, but only by about $10. Those prices shoot up if you wait until you get to the airport and ask for the service at the reservation center — you’re looking at about $50-100 per bag, depending on how many bags you have. The priciest option, unsurprisingly, is the last-minute, at-the-gate purchase, which will run you about $55 per bag. 

You can also look into a $9 Fare Club membership, which costs you annually but gets you discounted trip fares and saves you half on baggage fees. And if and when you do end up paying baggage fees, be sure to use a card that earns travel rewards. That’ll at least take the sting out of having to pay the fees.

With a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, for example, you could use your Venture miles to “erase” the fees you pay using the Purchase Eraser tool — essentially making your checked bags free.

Bottom line

Spirit airlines is a budget carrier that does everything possible to reduce its overhead costs to provide travelers ways to save money. To avoid excess fees for your flight, it’s best to either pack light – you do get one personal item free of charge – or know before you go and pay for your bag as early as possible.

Featured image by EQRoy/Shutterstock.

Virginia Brown is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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